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Cangkul / Burro

Cangkul is a simple but popular Indonesian game, in which players try to get rid of cards by following suit. A very similar game 'Donkey' is played in Goa. There is also a closely related Spanish game known as Burro (Donkey).


The Indonesian name Cangkul means to dig using a hoe, and refers to the need to dig for a suitable card from the stock pile when unable to follow suit. Some people call the game Minuman which means a drink or beverage.

Players and Cards

The game is best for around 3 to 5 players. A standard international 52-card pack is used, the cards in each suit ranking from high to low A-K-Q-J-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2.

The deal and play are clockwise and the turn to deal passes to the left after each hand.


The dealer deals 7 cards to each player, and stacks the remainder of the pack face down to form a drawing stock. The players pick up their cards and look at them, without showing them to other players.


The player to dealer's left begins. Any card can be led and the other players in turn must play a card of the same suit (i.e. follow suit). When all have played one card, whoever played the highest card puts the played cards (the trick) aside and leads a card to the next trick, which may be the same or a different suit. Again everyone must play a card of the suit that was led, and so the game continues.

A player who does not have a card of the suit that was led must draw the top card of the stock. If it is of the required suit he must play it: if not he must add it to his cards without showing it to the other players and draw another. The player must continue to draw cards until a card of the right suit is found and played.

If a player has no card of the required suit and draws all the remaining cards from the stock without finding a card of the suit that is needed, or if a player is unable to follow suit when the stock is empty, the player does not play a card to that trick and it is the next player's turn to follow suit. At the end of the trick, the cards are not set aside, but are picked up and added to the hand of the player who was unable to follow suit.

If two or more players have to pass in a trick because they cannot follow suit and the stock is exhausted, the players who passed take turns to draw a card from the trick, beginning with the first player who passed and continuing clockwise, until all the cards of the incomplete trick have been drawn. The player who played the highest card to the incomplete trick then leads again.

Example. There are four players A, B, C and D. The stock is empty, and player A is the only player who has any hearts. Player A leads the 3 and B, C and D have to pass. B, the first player who passed, has to pick up the 3. Player A won the trick since no one else played to it, so player A now leads the 7. Player B must play the 3 and players C and D must pass. Now C and D must pick up cards: C takes the 7 and D takes the 3. A won with the 7, so next A leads the 9. B has to pass but C and D play their hearts and B must pick up all three hearts. Since A won with the 9 it is A's lead again. And so it goes on.

The first player who runs out of cards wins the game as soon as he manages to play his last card.


Some continue the game in order to find a loser. A player who has no cards in hand drops out of the game and the others continue playing. The loser is the last player left holdsing cards.

The procedure for taking cards when more than one player passes in a trick is sometimes quite informal - but if the game is not completely casual the method of drawing cards in turn described above is a fair way to proceed.

Some add a Joker to the deck and play with 53 cards. The joker always wins the trick to which it is played. If the joker is led, the second player can play any card and the other players have to match the suit of this card. There are some further variants on the use of the Joker. For example some play that the Joker can only be played if the player has no card of the suit that was led, and some play that the Joker must be played in this case - you cannot draw cards from the stock while holding the Joker.

Burro (Donkey)

The Spanish name Burro is used for at least two different card games. It is used for the inflation game described below, which is quite similar to Cangkul, but the Spanish version of the card passing game Pig is also often known as Burro. The following is based on the description in the book 'El gran libro de los juegos de cartas' by José L. Núñez Elvira (Ediciones Martínez Roca, Barcelona, 1990).

Players and Cards

Up to 8 people can play, each playing for themselves. A 48-card Spanish suited pack is used ranking from high to low King (re) - Horse (caballo) - Maid (sota) - 9 - 8 - 7 - 6 - 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 in each suit (the Ace is low in this game). It is also possible to play with a 40-card Spanish pack, omitting the 9's and 8's. Deal and play are anticlockwise.


The dealer shuffles, the player to dealer's left cuts, and the dealer deals the cards one at a time until everyone has four cards. The remainder are stacked face down to form a drawing stock.


The player to dealer's right leads any card. The other players must follow suit. A player who has no card of the suit led must draw cards one at a time from the stock until a card of the required suit is found and then play it. The player of the highest card wins the trick and leads any card to the next trick.

If the drawing stock runs out, players who have no card of the suit led simply pass and do not play. They are not required to draw any extra cards.

Players who run out of cards drop out of the play, which continues until only one player has cards. This player loses the hand and gets a penalty point.

End of Game

The game continues until a player reaches a previously agreed number of penalty points and loses the game.

Burro in Portugal

Alexandre Pinto describes two versions of Burro played by children in Portugal. A 40-card pack is used, consisting of King (Rei), Jack (Valete), Queen (Dama), 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, A in each suit. Five cards are dealt to each player. In Burro Deitado the drawing stock is stacked face down as usual, but in Burro em Pé the pack of undealt cards is divided into two roughly equal halves and these are stood on the table supporting each other in the shape of a "Λ".

The rules of play are the same as in Spain, except that a player is allowed to draw from the stock (or continue drawing) even if he holds or finds a playable card. In Burro em Pé players who draw cards from the stock must be careful not to knock it over. Anyone who causes the Λ to fall over must add the whole of the remaining stock to his hand. The play ends as soon as a player runs out of cards and thereby wins.

Note: As in Spain, the name Burro is also used in Portugal to refer to a different card game, similar to Pig.